The Miami Heat is reeling. They've lost four in a row, and can't seem to beat any teams that are any good. And apparently, they're crying about it. And now, to add insult to injury the Harlem Globetrotters - think Sweet Georgia Brown theme song - are coming to town and thinking they might be able to handle the Three Queens. In fact they're coming after the Heat directly. Literally.
Well, okay, so the Globetrotters are playing those lovable losers the Washington Generals in the American Airlines Arena a day after the Heat play the Memphis Grizzlies, but still. The Globetrotters feel they can compete against the Heat and any team in the NBA. And we tend to believe them - have you seen that weave play? Cultist put the full court press on Globetrotter Scooter Christensen to see what he thought about the Heat, talking trash while singing, and the pressure of continuing a 40-year winning streak.
New Times: What's with the Heat?
Scooter Christensen: I think it's great that (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade,
and Chris Bosh) came together. Who wouldn't want to see them play
together? But everybody's perception was that they would be winning all
the games and it took them a while to gel. Just because you are together
it doesn't mean you will win if you are not a real team.
The Globetrotters used to play exhibitions against teams in the NBA
(they even beat the Los Angeles Lakers back in the day). Do you think
the team would be able to compete against the Heat and today's NBA
I think we match up well against any NBA team. We can play with them. A
lot of past Globetrotters went on to the play in the NBA like (former
Miami Heat player) Jamario Moon, Devin George, and some NBA players came
to play with us like Wilt Chamberlain and Connie Hawkins.
We've gone to venues/arenas and when we are waiting to practice we see
teams and they come over and we meet them. Sometimes they think we are
just full of tricks but if we play five on five they'll see we've been
playing since we were five years old, just like them.
Are the Harlem Globetrotters of today the same as before?
We still have some of the old antics -throwing confetti and the (fake)
bucket of water - that will never go away. But our tricks have
definitely evolved. The Globetrotters are bigger, stronger, and faster.
Sure, we do some of the same things but we add our own style.
How does one become a Globetrotter?
I was a video coordinator and practice player for the Phoenix Suns and when the
Globetrotters came to town they me play in competitive pick up game and
said, 'Who is this kid? Wow he can play.' Six years later I'm very
fortunate to be part of this great company.
What's the deal with Washington Generals? They've lost 13,000 games in a
row to the Globetrotters (haven't beat you since 1971). Is the fix in?
If game was rigged we'd win by five points every night. But sometimes we
win by one, or three, or 20 points. I've been in games that we've been
down by 10 with three minutes left. That's when your competitive juice
kicks in and you know you have to get going.
What can fans expect to see when the Globetrotters come to town?
It's all about making the fans happy. Making kids smile. If you ever
come to game, you never remember the score. But you go home smiling.
You have a musical background and like to sing. Do you ever trash talk by singing?
Nah, I might sing a little when I bring out a little kid and spin the
ball on his finger something like that. But I wouldn't know what to sing
for trash talking.
Is there anything new with this year's version of the Globetrotters?
This is our "Four Times the Fun Tour" and we've added a four point shot
this year. It's from 35 feet away from the basket -- 12 feet longer than
three point line. It's only active during the last three minutes of the
quarter. The Washington Generals have some great shooters so this can
help them keep the game close.
Do you think a 4-point shot could work in the NBA?
I wouldn't be surprised if they introduced it at some point. They didn't
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have a three point line before, and look how well that's turned out.
The Harlem Globetrotters play the Washington Generals at 4 p.m. Sunday at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Tickets start at $20. Visit harlemglobetrotters.com for more information.